Naples is famous for many things – pizza, music, Vesuvius, and a beautiful bay, to name a few. But it’s also the world center of nativity scene craftsmen.

The heart of the trade is in the characteristic and chaotic Spaccannapoli district, where motorini buzz, vendors shout out for attention, laundry lines stretch across the streets like boat banners, and narrow alleyways are adorned with arched porticoes. While there are many of these little streets populated by presepi makers, the most concentrated and famous is Via San Gregorio Armeno, a pedestrian lane teeming with figurines, stable scenes, and accessories.

Strolling the streets you’ll find figures in all sizes and designs – carved from wood, molded in plaster, or cast in terra cotta. Great attention is given to every detail, expression and posture. Garments are painstakingly stitched and pressed.

These nativities are no humble affair - entire towns can be constructed in miniature around the manger, complete with moving parts. Bakers put bread into ovens, shepherds tend bleating sheep, men chop wood or pound iron. There are little replicas of foods, household items, and barnyard scenes. You can buy building materials to construct grottoes, lakes and waterfalls (and can buy little boats to float on them, too).

Along with the angels and the holy family, you’ll find a bazaar of figurines, a wide cast of characters representing every walk of life and trade craft. Custom characters can be created, too.

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Address in Naples:

Via San Gregorio Armeno.

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